Hope

The word I am focusing on this week is hope. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

prayer GIF
giphy.com

I spent so much of my life waiting on things. I had to wait 7 years to get married. I had to wait 7 years to have a baby. I see now why I had to wait on those things but I certainly didn’t understand it at the time.

The bible talks a lot about hope. A few of my favorites:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

This Hebrew verse is one that I relied on a lot when I was trying to get pregnant. It talks about holding on to hope because he who promises is faithful.

I can remember month after month waiting on God and not knowing why it was taking so long. What did he want me to do? I would start on the downward spiral of losing hope. What if this never happens? Maybe I don’t deserve a baby.

Something would always stop me though. As bad as I felt I never stayed that far down for too long. I knew if I lost hope I would have nothing to cling to. There would be no where else to go.

khalid GIF by 2017 MTV Video Music Awards
giphy.com

I felt like I couldn’t lose hope because I knew even though it had not happened yet that God could do it. I didn’t come by this feeling overnight. I did a lot of research. I asked God to take this desire away if he didn’t want me to have it. If it wasn’t in his will, then take it away because it hurt to bad to continue to be disappointed month after month.

Feeling like you are losing hope?

Ask God to grow your faith in the places of doubt. Have him show you in little ways how he has been faithful.

Make a list of all the things God has done for you this year.

Ask Him if your dream or desire needs to be tweaked.

Find verses about your situation in the bible to build your hope back up. There is nothing new in the world your situation is in there. I have written down so many verses about infertility and being a mother.

Michelle Obama Hope GIF by Obama
giphy.com

Hope is powerful. It doesn’t have to be big. When you feel your hope fading just ask God to help you in your unbelief. He understands. He wants you to reach out. Anything is possible even if you only have a sliver of hope, hold on to it. Remember what God has done for you before and know that he can do even more than you could ever imagine.

barack obama hope GIF by Obama
giphy.com

Resources

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/

Revising The Golden Rule

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:12 NLT

I’ve always liked this rule. Its simple and straight to the point. Don’t treat people like garbage if you don’t want to be treated as such. Seems reasonable to me. However, as I have gotten older I realized that this concept is a little black and white. It is a good idea to treat people how you want to be treated however, it doesn’t really take into account how THEY want to be treated.

Tracee Ellis Ross What GIF by ABC Network
giphy.com

For instance, my husband and I share a lot of similar personality traits however his love language is different than mine. I can’t approach him the way I would want to be approached in situations because he doesn’t respond to that.

When I was researching pictures to include in this post, I came across an article that talks about what I was just telling you. The man that wrote it is talking about it from a management angle but I believe that it works in all aspects of life. Do you take account peoples personalities when you have a disagreement with them? It doesn’t even have to be a disagreement, but just how you interact with people on a day to day basis.

I had a disagreement with a coworker…but it was really in my mind. If you asked them, they wouldn’t think we had a disagreement. They said some things to me I really didn’t like and I would never say those things to them. I was pretty upset about but I had to stop and think, what was their intention? Were their intentions good? They were. We don’t think the same and that is ok.

I had a friend that asked me for some constructive feedback and I wasn’t able to fully give it to her. I talked about how I don’t like constructive feedback because I am too hard on myself but that may not be the case for her. We all have blindspots and I could have been more helpful, but I was treating her how I like to be treated. I also didn’t want to hurt her feelings because mine would have been hurt if it was me, but this wasn’t about me.

seth meyers lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers
giphy.com

Finding the balance in how to treat people in a way that works for you and works for them is tricky but doable. Sometimes we get in caught up in our thought process and that is ok as long as your recognize it.

I believe the biggest thing to consider when trying to treat people how you want to be treated is remember compassion, empathy, respect and patience. Those things are universal.

The Golden Rule is a good place to start but its the baseline. If you start with this you will end up in a good space but if you take it a step further, you can probably have a solution that works for everybody.

The value of an apology

Apology-Quotes I like the above quote. It is quite mature, a great sentiment. Much easier to say than actually implement in real life. I am terrible that I do not like apologizing. I used to like to just move on like nothing had happened because I am not mad anymore and you aren’t either. This is not a healthy way to handle conflict and it is not very fair to the person that was offended/slighted, etc.

sorry barack obama GIF by NowThis
giphy.com

My not liking to apologize had nothing to do with the other person and everything to with me. Apologizing felt like I was giving up control or admitting weakness. Apologizing is a very vulnerable position to be in. You are kind of out on a ledge by yourself waiting for the other person to react, respond. What if they don’t say anything? Do they have to? Is it necessary? Does it matter? I had to contemplate these questions recently as I issued apologizes for various reasons in the past but got almost no responses. This made matters worse! I almost felt like I shouldn’t have said anything at all. However, often times an apology is not for them to acknowledge but for you to atone for what you have done. The best apology really is changed behavior.  

Happy Thanksgiving

We talked about being grateful earlier in the month and here is the big day to focus on what you are thankful for.

I challenge you to think of three things a day you are thankful for next month. We shouldn’t only focus on our thanks in November or on Thanksgiving but really all year round. I know things are hard as we are into our 8 month dealing with Covid here in the US. If you were like me, you never would have thought we would be going into the end of the year dealing with this with no end in sight.

Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers
giphy.com

Too often we focus on what do not have, instead of all the things we do have. This Thanksgiving may not be like it was last year, but you are here to celebrate. That counts for something.

Three things I am thankful for today:
1. I still have a job

2. I was able to travel despite most things being shut down

3. No one in my immediate circle of family and friends have Covid.

15 Bible Verses on Thankfulness

Constructive criticism

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.
Proverbs 15:31 NLT

This is hard for me. I do it well in my work life but not in my personal life. I’m my own worst critic, so its hard to hear myself be criticized by other people. Often times they are just pointing out things that I already know I need to work on. I’m equal opportunity though. I don’t typically provide people with unsolicited constructive feedback either. I’ve always had a policy where I don’t say anything to people that I don’t want said to me. I’ve never seen this verse in the bible before. Reading it in a different translation definitely opened my eyes.

10 Funny Memes About How You Can GTFO With That Unsolicited Parenting Advice

We talked about self control with not engaging in conversations that aren’t healthy, however constructive feedback can be helpful.

The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 NLT

I think if nothing else the above verse reminds me that constructive feedback is there to make me better. The people around me love and only want to see me at my best. So if someone is at my house and comments on what my son is wearing or eating, or how clean my house is, its because they are really trying to be helpful. Their delivery or timing may not be great but that shouldn’t impact how I respond to them.

crazy eyes advice GIF

Or if I respond at all. I can simply say thank you, I will take that into consideration.

Quotes about Giving unsolicited advice (23 quotes)

This meme was another great reminder. People just want to be helpful. I don’t have to take it as an attack on my parenting or wife skills. Maybe they could be trying to offer me words they wished someone would have said to them. The biggest takeaway is to remember that people intentions are good. Impact matters of course but I can show some grace as well.

Self control

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 NLT

The word I am focusing on this week is self control. As we are getting close to holiday season it made sense for me to focus on self control. The biggest area I need to focus on is my mouth, not just what I put into it but what comes out of it. The delicious food is going to be tempting me as well as the conversations that are being had. Being around family can make self control difficult, sometimes being around the people we love can get under our skin and make us eat or say things we would not normally eat or say.

How is your self control? I am not really an impulsive person so I didn’t think I had a self control issue. As I am trying to eat healthy and truly make a lifestyle change I noticed my self control needs some work. Portion control for me is a definitely a problem. Now I am going to give myself a little slack on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will feel better about that slack though if I tighten up my eating habits on a regular basis. I certainly don’t follow the national guidelines.

Healthy Eating Plate

I heap food on my plate and almost always go back for seconds unless its something healthy. I thoroughly enjoy the taste of food and have a hard time telling myself no when it comes to food. They don’t call it comfort food for no reason. I spend more money on food then I do on most things. I am not sure why that is. It’s like a little crack and once I open up the floodgates I can’t stop.

fried chicken eating GIF
giphy.com

Self control with my mouth isn’t much better. Having to always be right is a problem as well as getting the last word. I have gotten better but it is still a problem. Why do I have to be right all the time? I honestly don’t know. It is so hard to hear somebody make a blanket statement and not respond to it. Like, all men do (insert whatever stereotype you want) and it makes me so mad. Or hear someone say something I don’t agree with in general. Or when someone says something I know is not right. Do I have to correct them? What do I get out of these debates? Nothing. What difference does it make what they think? In the grand scheme of things, none. I am probably not going to change their minds and it’s only going to make me upset.

Basketball Wives Bbw GIF by VH1
giphy.com

Oddly enough, controlling what comes out of my mouth is easier for me than what goes into it. I am only trying to engage in conversations that help me grow, make me think differently, and change my thought process. I need to have this same thought process about food. Its hard though because food is SO good. If I want to be the best version of myself, I know I need to work on it. My next goal is consistent exercise. We’ll work on that in 2021, lol.

Mom guilt and rest

wp-15966552291626632410035841967360.jpg
Instagram

I saw this on Instagram a while back and it definitely spoke to me. I was out sometime ago, probably before COVID and was talking about how tired I was and somebody said this to me. Like didn’t you ask for this? I did. I don’t think its a fair to expect me to never get tired, to never want a break, to never be annoyed by my kid. I am still a human person. I know plenty of people who think this about themselves. I certainly used to.

I felt because I prayed so long for a baby I had no right to complain. I never want God or anyone else to think for a second that I am not grateful for my son. He is amazing! I love watching him grow and discover new things. He is a 18 months today. So he is tap dancing on the line of terrible twos. Things are starting to get real interesting around here.

8 toddler memes that will make your pint-sized dictator seem a little more  loveable. | Mars&Stars Baby | Toddler humor, Funny pictures, Toddler quotes
Pintrest

I have been talking about rest this week and think being a mom makes it even harder to rest.

When he was smaller I wanted to be the first person he saw when he woke up in the morning and the last person he saw before bed. That has been the case pretty much every day and night he has been alive unless I was out of town. As he has gotten older though I am starting to realize that isn’t necessary. Putting him to bed every night right now is exhausting because he doesn’t want to go. We are battling over bath time and pajamas like we don’t do this every night. Its driving me insane.

Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers
giphy.com

The mom guilt is real though. I feel like I need to do all these things because he is at the sitter all day.

I want to make sure that I get enough time in with him as possible. I want him to know that he is loved and cherished. He knows that though. He may not be able to say it but I firmly believe he can feel the love I pour into him. He is a happy baby by default. Its just who he is. He needs a mommy that is happy and content as well. All the time.

I’m making adjustments. I have turned over a few nights a week of night time prep to my husband. He is a having a great time!

its always sunny in philadelphia GIF
Footage of my husband putting my son to bed. LOL!

I am scheduling myself some regular me time. I am giving myself a break. I feel like it takes a long time to catch your rhythm as a mom. As soon as you get a good routine down, they change on you. We have to be willing to change too or as good friend of mine says, pivot.

Letting go of what doesn’t serve me

I was listening to a podcast the other day, The Suga. Its a podcast for black moms but most of the conversations I think would be relevant for any woman. One of the thing the host said that really struck me was, “I’m letting go of things that don’t serve me.”

Yvonne Orji Word GIF by Insecure on HBO
giphy.com

I felt that in my bones, but its easier said that done. I have been working really hard on making sure I am doing things because I want to and not out of some weird obligation that I put on myself. Some days I am successful at it and other days I am not.

I really wanted to dive deeper into this concept. I have talked about this process a little in the post Unlearning. Unlearning is all about letting go of thought processes go that no longer serve you. I feel like this is the next step in that process. Letting go of activities that no longer serve me. This to me is harder because in unlearning you can immediately see the benefit and it impacts nobody but yourself. I don’t want to appear selfish by saying no or not helping at some function or attending some event.

selfish carlton GIF
giphy.com

I have to remind myself that self care is not selfish and letting go of things that don’t serve me is only going to help me feel better.

How do know that something no longer serves you?

How do you feel when you leave that event?

How do you feel when you complete that activity?

If you don’t feel like you gained anything then it may be time to do something else. By gained I mean, do you feel full? Fulfilled? Satisfied?

Or is it just something to check off your list?

Are these (whatever your thing/s is) pouring into you?

When I was dealing with FOMO, I said I was only going to pour into people who poured into me. It helped me a great deal in dealing with missing out on activities or feeling like I needed to be invited somewhere. I am going to start applying that same philosophy to my calendar as well.

Another good reminder that I got from the Joyce Meyer book I just finished was, just because this thing I am doing is great, doesn’t mean that it is great for me. I have to learn to let go.

Resources

This guided mediation was pretty cool. I didn’t use everything they said, but they were definitely some great takeaways.

Rest

The word I am focusing on this week is Rest. I have not been doing a lot of it and its starting to catch up with me. I’m not usually person that needs to be told to take a break. I love relaxing! Most of my favorite activities involve sitting down, lol.

Lately though, I have been cramming my schedule to the max because it FEELS like we have more time because we are spending it at home. It’s true but sometimes more time at home, needs to just be more time at home.

I thought I had Covid a few weeks ago, not because I had been coughing, or had a fever or sore throat but because I was tired. Tieeeeeed.

Tired Real Housewives Of Atlanta GIF
giphy.com

I know that one of the symptoms is fatigue so I’m like oh no, the other stuff is about to start, but it never did. I don’t have Covid, I need to rest. Not just physically rest but mentally rest.

Sankalpa Life: How to Rest When You Feel Like You Should be Busy
sanklapa life

I like this list I found online. I schedule a lot of things in my life, I appreciate a good list. However I have never scheduled rest time, I don’t have a day scheduled for just me. I schedule days to hang with friends, date nights with my husband, but not for myself. I need to fix that asap. One of my friends reads the blog and started having Self Care Sunday based on what she read here. Her kids even have been doing Self Care Fridays. Clearly I haven’t been taking my own advice.

I also need to uncommit to some activities but I don’t want to do it.

The reason why I dont want to cut anything that I have been doing is because I hate FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’ve talked about it here before, I have gotten much better with it, but it still lingers from time to time.

From Fear to Joy of Missing Out: FoMo VS YoMo - Youth Time Magazine
youthtimemagzine.com

JOMO is a concept I had never heard of but it makes a lot of sense. Its the JOY OF MISSING OUT. Filling content with staying in and disconnecting as a form of self care.

I’m bad as a kid thinking I am going to miss something. I’m letting it go though because I am not giving all the things on my calendar 100%. I’m just rushing from one thing to the next. I need to be a whole person to take care of my son, to be a good wife, to be the best version of myself.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 29-30

I should have done it sooner, but better late than never. Its never too late to make yourself a priority.

Choosing Joy

Joyce Meyer says, try not to be ruled by your emotions. Easier said than done of course, but absolutely necessary. There is nothing worse then going up and down based on how you feel. I feel like I am a pretty rational person and I have this problem all the time. I think about my feelings instead of what is happening at the time.

Its easy to say not to be ruled by your emotions when everything is going well, when you are hearing from God and he is answering your prayers. Just the other day I woke up and I felt nothing, I was confused and reading the bible didn’t help. I tried to pray and I didn’t feel the calm and peace I usually do after prayer. I wondered if God was testing me in some way, because people always say God doesn’t speak to you during the test. I tried to meditate on some verses but nothing was coming to mind to address how I felt. I didn’t know what to do.

I decided to make a list of all the things I was grateful for; my husband, my job, friends and family. I got specific with it, not just generically thanking God but really praising him for the awesome things he has done for me and I started to feel better. I was surprised. It seems so bogus, like how is this list supposed to make me feel better but it did. Running through that list helped me put some things in perspective. That gratitude list reminded me that things in my life were not that bad and they could always be worse. The more I wake up in a odd mood or down on myself I take a second to remember that our feelings are not real.

Don’t trust your feelings because your feelings can lie. Feelings don’t always convey the word of God or how true He is. People tell you to trust your heart, don’t do it. Trust God. When you need to press on because you don’t want to get out of bed, tap into the word. I had many days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did anyway. I made sure to have a few minutes of quiet time with God. Time allotted would be 15 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less. I would always get a scripture that would help me along.

As I have been trying to tap more into my emotions and not hide in books or recreational activities, the more I am trying not to be ruled by my emotions. I have also made sure to look up scriptures about feelings, emotions and love, because I didn’t want to get caught in a spot again where I couldn’t remember any scriptures. I have been reading a plan in the Bible app, called Love God Greatly-You are Loved. I have been writing a lot of those scriptures down so that I can recall them later. Being reminded of the love God has for me, helps me with my doubt, indecision, anxiety, etc. The more I get to know who He is, the more I trust him, the less stock I put in how I feel. There is no one way to not get caught up in your feelings, sometimes you have to try a bevy of different ways to change your mood, but you can do it.

Books to Read

Get out of your head-Jennie Allen

Living beyond your feelings-Joyce Meyer